GrowthJanuary 11, 2023

Connected, by mParticle Episode 12: The recipe for happy customers with Karan Gupta of Marley Spoon

On this episode host Abhi Seeth sits down with Karan Gupta, Global Head of CRM at meal delivery service Marley Spoon.

Connected, by mParticle Episode 12

On this episode host Abhi Seeth sits down with Karan Gupta, Global Head of CRM at Marley Spoon. They discuss strategies for keeping the customer at the center of your business, the importance of a unified view of the customer, and personalization tactics for preventing customer churn.

If you like this episode, you can visit our Connected by mParticle episode hub to check episodes featuring companies like NBCUniversal, CKE Restaurants, and Ruby Tuesday.


[00:01:00] Abhi: Karan thank you so much. I think this is at least for me, a very long anticipated conversation. Appreciate you making the time on a Friday evening.

[00:01:11] Karan: Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Yeah.

[00:01:14] Abhi: Of course. I would love to get a bit of an intro about yourself and and what you do.

[00:01:23] Karan: Try to not hijack the entire conversation with that intro. But to sum it up, my name is Karan. I am the global head of CRM at Marley Spoon. Originally from India, but I've basically been a nomad for the last 12 or years, leading growth, across a wide range of organizations and fell into crm, which I always find To be the sweet spot between, how organizations can grow versus how do you keep the customer at the center of that growth. Been doing that now for a few years and absolutely still learning every single day of my life around this topic. So that's me [00:02:00] in a nutshell.

[00:02:01] Abhi: I, I love the nutshell, and I don't know if you could really survive or make it in this world of, customer experience, crm, tech data without, learning every day.

So let's, let's dive into that could you give us a little bit more of a, a background on what Marley Spoon is?

[00:02:20] Karan: Yeah, absolutely. So for people who don't know, so Marley Spoon operates in, in the vertical of meal kits. what that means is that we give people the option to cook, and, and be flexible about, cooking.

Uh, so meal kits as a concept, it's about, sending these food boxes, with different recipes, and we do that in different markets. So Marley Spoon currently operates in a different markets, six European markets, US and Australia. And also for all the listeners and who don't know, we operate a wide range of different products.

So Marley Spoon being, let's say the flagship, brand. But we have, let's say a budget friendly brand called Dinnerly. We have [00:03:00] ready to eat, option called Chefgood. We have a ped food brand called Bezzie. Eventually the idea for us is how do we delight customers with these five range of product offerings so we can cater to their, let's say, needs state across, all different demographics and, customer groups.

[00:03:18] Abhi: So, you know, of course I, I saw Marley Spoon. And, you know, to me, I bucketed it, with, with some of the other meal kit providers I knew, I'm like, Okay, this makes a lot of sense, but I had no idea. All these other product lives including like, you know, ready to eat. That's fascinating. So, okay, so I think this is where the conversation really opens up. Karan. It didn't take us a, a long time to get here, but, man, how the heck do you do it? Because I think, you know, when you talk about, I think multi-brand in and of itself is a, is a challenge.

Sort of within, let's just say roughly crm, but then sort of multi geography. you can take this however, and you know, let's go [00:04:00] back and forth on this a bit, but how do you even begin to put that puzzle together around, you know, the one, it's just the dynamics of multi-brand, but then also just sort of operating in so many different markets.

What are some of the challenges maybe you faced around. Kinda engagement and, and, and customer attention.

[00:04:22] Karan: That is, an easy or, a difficult question, depends on how you see it. and actually the answer is, is, is also, you know, an easy or a complex answer. so to me, of course, you know, there are a lot of ways to look at this, but, the simple way, and that's how you know I approach this topic as well, is if you.

The customer at the center of what you're doing. So irrespective of, let's say, you know, you might have, multiple brands that, you know, a customer might be interested in, you might be operating in different geographies, which have, of course, other than the language, difference, other cultural nuances, which, which come [00:05:00] into it.

But as long as you are able to, let's say, orchestrate. Instrument and architecture where you are, unifying that customer view. And based on let's say, you know, that customer itself, you're able to identify, which, segment, for example is, is your most valuable segment, which behaviors you want to drive, which brands you want to, upsell, cross sell, then it just becomes.

Because, instead of, let's say, taking a top down approach where you look at, Okay, these are different brands that I have, let me, you know, drive this brand more, or let me, you know, focus more on this geography, which of course for businesses, that's how they also do it, but at least the way I approach, crm.

And that's, you know, to me how we are also, scaling this, let's say, monstrosity of an architecture is, is. Looking at a very unified customer view and then building our, strategy on top, on understanding and unlocking, different [00:06:00] behaviors that we see in different markets, different , let's say, data points that we wanna capture, whether it's, you know, how customers engage on our sites, on our apps, on different touch points, and being able to use those, data points in, in rarely unlocking, this customer retention at.

[00:06:18] Abhi: Yeah, I mean that's, that's a really interesting take on this, right? Because the payoff for something like this may not be immediate. So Right. To your point, it might be easier to just say, Oh, like, I don't know.

Let, let's spend a lot of, of money on, on paid media or something. We'll just promote the heck out of nascent brand X in, in this, you know, particular country because we think we can hit a certain growth metric. But it's one thing to acquire a user or get them to try a new product, but it's how do you keep them on in a sustainable way and keep them interested and organically introduce new products when they make sense at a different point of [00:07:00] a, a user's life cycle.

So if you, I don't know if you knew, for example, maybe somebody's, because you were tracking this, maybe somebody's meal kits, they, they were skipping a number of meal kits, right? So you can promote, you know, the ready made meals, for example.

Um, but again, I think what you said there, which is really key, is you wouldn't know to do that unless you, from day one, sort of started to build a profile on these users. If you didn't track this information. How would you know to do that? And then that might be a, you know, you're looking at two very different situations.

That's a churn customer because they always associate you with meal kits and they said, I don't wanna cook. Versus you saying, Hey, I understand that about you and I also have another product where, you know, I could, I could retain you, right? I could give you something I can offer value, that keeps you on as a customer.

Um, I don't know. Am I thinking about this the right way? And, and it's, is it No, absolutely.

[00:07:56] Karan: you nailed it. And I think, this is where the complexity is, [00:08:00] right? Also where the fun is because if you, look at exactly the example that you used and put that in context, that one, customer journeys are not linear, right?

Like, Everyone behaves differently. You know, both of us, you know, if you just take two of us on the call, you live in New York, I'm in Berlin. you might like, I don't know, you know, pizzas and I might just be a beer drinker just cause I'm in Berlin. , how, how, how do you, you know, get to the stage where you are?

Let's say having, knowing that customer journeys are not, linear and in a context where customers are expecting a one-on-one convers. They're expecting that I should know that car loves beer. And, Avi loves pizza. And using that data, they expect that, we can communicate to them in a way, which is, you know, taking into consideration those preferences.

But you don't have, let's say, you know, thousands of, Individuals sitting behind, on the CRM side of things who are manually, let's say, sending, and creating these [00:09:00] cohorts and segments. so you need a way to make this scalable, right? So how. It's, it's moving in, in my, opinion is that of course you need a personalization layer sitting on top of how you communicate with these audiences.

But before you can even apply that, personalization layer of, you know, the example you gave that, you know, there's, there's a customer who, says that, Okay, I, you know, I don't like cooking. And then, as, as a business, we have a product that we can say that, Hey, you know, we have this study to eat offering.

So it goes back to how companies. Unlock this data where this data is not just sitting in a data warehouse, or it's not sitting in a, let's say, a customer survey, but how we communicate with these, customers. We can activate this data. So we can in real time understand that, okay, let's say if a person churns from Marley Spoon because they said that, okay, they don't want to cook.

We can real time, unlock these cross sell campaigns where we can then say, Hey, you know, do you know that [00:10:00] we also have a product which you might be interested in because you just told us that you don't like, So activating that data, you know, becomes, a critical piece.

And then you apply this personalization layer on top where we say, you know, those things that, okay, this person, let's say churned because, they don't like cooking, or this person churned because they thought, let's say one brand was too expensive, and then we can, you know, cross sell, you know, let's say a cheaper offering to them for.

[00:10:29] Abhi: Yeah. Yeah. And you're right. Like in some ways I think that's an important point to make. It's not just good enough to, You talk about building this data asset, right? And there's no silver bullet there, right? That is hard work and you sort of have to lay that brick by brick. But to your point, even if you get the data collection part right, it's not just having that sit in a survey tool or a data warehouse, but it's, there has to be some way to consume that data.

In a way that you could make intelligent decisions in real time on [00:11:00] the experience you want an individual consumer to have. you know, and I, I, I think that's, that's also a really interesting point because I think there's a lot of organizations that maybe have data or, you know, access in theory to lots of different sets of data.

Is it usable also for the application? you know, that you intend to drive? Yeah. Yeah,

[00:11:24] Karan: absolutely. I, I think there was this craze back in the day also, I'm sure the data, you know, the data fans might take offense to this, that when we were going through this era of big data, it, it became a buzzword, right?

Like a lot of organizations wanted to collect, data. And actually I feel now that's not a problem. there is like, organizations have access to a lot of data, but the question is, you know, how you use that data and. To me, organizations, are still battling with this, topic and, from, let's say a customer engagement point of view.

That is the most critical, aspect of how we can [00:12:00] bring these relevant, experiences to customers. By activating that data, right, Like, and this data needs to exist in different, let's say shapes and sizes and different tools. So having a, a data architecture, which enables this data to flow seamlessly to different platforms is critical.

Because if you're not allowing this, data to flow, then basically you are just doing a retroactive analysis of customers and saying that, you know, basically let's say, as an example that, you do an analysis of , any, business and, of any segment on why customers stop using the product and you utilize that.

Okay? Customers stopped using the product because let's say the customer, support was not up to. Now you're taking this feedback back into product development, into communication. But what if you could real time understand, that customers might stop using your services if you don't improve customer support?

And by doing that, you can also identify which customers that is more critical for and, activate [00:13:00] that, right? and, and make sure that customers support reaches out to those, customers, for example. So being able. Unlock this data, but it doesn't sit in a data silo for just reporting and for analysis, but actually activation for marketers is, is super critical, I feel.

Yeah, no,

[00:13:18] Abhi: I, I mean, it's another great point if you think about it that way, because like you said, doing sort of a, a retrospective on what went wrong. It's, it's usually, you know, a data engineer, an analyst querying, you know, really digging through all of this stuff and then saying, Oh, you know, here's why we think it is. And I think there's always need for that. I mean, I think there's always need for a data analyst team to always think about not just customer data, but sort of the business, right?

Like, are there trends that we can capitalize on? But from a CRM marketing perspective, Karan, what you're saying? I would love to know that now, right? Like in real time before we lost this customer and they're gone for three [00:14:00] months, if I knew that now there's something we can do about it, right? And I think there, there's a very different mindset and let's let something go wrong and figure out why, and let's prevent something from going wrong because of the signals that we're, we're getting.

And again, I think you're right. Like if you don't have the architecture to support something like that, you know, you're, you're sort of stuck in doing. More of a retroactive analysis versus something. Yeah. And, and, and, and, and, you know,

[00:14:29] Karan: just to add to that, what I feel, and a lot of people I know would agree to this, that retention is hard, right?

Like, of course, yeah, of course. But what, what they forget is that although retention is hard, reactivation is even harder, because, it's still easier to retain customers, as long as you can activate that data and understand those signals before they actually churn. When a person, let's say, stops using your product, then to win them back is even harder because you have to really solve that problem, [00:15:00] which made them.

Let's say it stop them using a product in the first place. And, and sometimes, it, you know, it, it's hard, right? Like, because there a lot of intangibles at play as well. and, and this is where I think like organizations are now getting towards the retention piece more. Because of course if, if you don't have a retention issue, then, in the best case scenario, you don't have to worry about reactivation, right.

But of course, in, let's say, if you look at as a. Could be true for other, let's say, subscription businesses as well. You will have a, endpoint for customers where, let's say they vote churn, right? it could be for a wide range of reasons. but then again, as, as long as you are able to really understand those data points, which not only made them stop using your product, but also what got them to your product in the first place, you can really build those experiences, towards, winning them back as.

But I would rather always, you know, try and, and work on the retention piece, more than, [00:16:00] reactivation because it is hard.

[00:16:02] Abhi: Yep, yep. No, and, and it's, you know, maybe unless you're like the, you know, sole utility company in a neighborhood, I think this is, I think, a truth about just doing business, right?

I mean, I think across any vertical in business acquisition and especially re-engagement or win. It's so much more expensive on a per user level than retention. Right. And it's,  I think that's a good point. I mean, as much as this stuff is hard and it may be difficult to, you know, wherever, whatever phase you are in this journey of, of building a, a CRM program and organization.

You know, if you're talking about ROI for a dollar spent, right? Or the problem that you wanna solve in this pipeline, yes, we always have to add water into a bucket, but, you know, one can argue maybe, you know, plugging the holes in the bucket is probably, P zero in, in that case, [00:17:00] or at least you know, one A and one B in the, well, we,

[00:17:03] Karan: we, we can try it, right?

Like we can try taking a boat in the. And see if it's better to, make sure the boat stays, then put a few holes and then try and, reach the shore back. Yeah. Yep. I think that that might be a good, lesson, which we can do together when you're in Berlin to, Sounds good. To figure out the retention versus reactivation piece.

[00:17:24] Abhi: Listen, I know we're, we're a little bit biased here with, with the two of us. We'll have to see what all the, the growth guys think, but, but I don't even think they would disagree with this. Okay, so turn, just to geek out on this man, because I know you're, you know, you think a lot about this it's very clear that like a critical component of everything you're talking about is.

Grounded in, in sort of data, right? I mean, it, it's like to, to effectively communicate is having a good understanding of how your engage you as a brand. And I think that goes into, [00:18:00] a lot of the, you know, the data and the architecture we've been talking about. staying on the topic Of customer journey of, you know, really driving this sort of retention and personalization at scale. Could you share a couple of, and this could be, you know, recent or, you know, wins in the past, but, some practical examples or ideas. on, on how you've been able to sort of understand the customer journey, at scale and, you know, maybe some examples on how that's allowed you to drive better crm.

[00:18:35] Karan: Yeah, let, let me think. So, the best example, which I always, try to share is when you look at e-commerce or even subscription, models, right? the segment that they always struggle with is the activation. Because they can spend, let's say, a lot of acquisition dollars, to get users, to get traffic on the site or, you know, their, their apps.

Uh, but if, let's say users don't get it, [00:19:00] if they don't understand, you know, what the offering is all about, it's difficult to , get them to try your product. it's, it's very true for, let's say especially subscription businesses. , And I'll take a similar example, right. So, we had a similar challenge in, in, my last organization, which is an e-commerce, business around tech rental where, , because organization or let's say users did not understand what trending was all about, we would get, let's say users to create an account, but to get them to try the product for the first time was.

Mm. And, and that was, let's say, the biggest problem we wanted to solve, which is where, let's say, when it comes to data and how we unlock this data piece, to, to solve that problem. So we, again, when, when we look at our stack, we, you know, deployed, different tools, we looked at product analytics tools , where we looked at a behavioral cohort.

So we looked at, let's say, customers who would create an account and who would place an. [00:20:00] And we would understand their behaviors. So, you know, it's, it's like creating an inverted cohort where you backtrack, the actions your converted audience takes so that you can drive that behavior.

Spotify did it, when it comes to, you know, converting their free users to try the paid product for the first time. so what Spotify, for example, in, in that exercise realized that if users, favorite three songs. And now I can't remember the exact timeframe, but let's say their favorite three songs, within the se within seven days of downloading the app.

That's a, a behavior which, all their, Paid users were exhibiting, so they exactly knew what they had to do, right? They had to basically drive that, behavior for all their, let's say new users. And similarly, we applied a similar, you know, let's say, mindset to, to this activation problem that we had.

That we, started looking at what behaviors, customers were [00:21:00] exhibiting in, in what timeframe, on what device and so on, so that we knew exactly that. Okay. when people don't hit those behaviors, we know that, you know, we, we can push certain campaigns, We can unlock certain, use cases to drive.

None of this is possible if you don't have a data architecture, which can support that. And that's the challenge I feel a lot of organizations have that they realize these things after doing an analysis. Mm-hmm. , but, they can't real time identify those behaviors, which then just makes it harder, to execute, I feel.

[00:21:34] Abhi: Yeah, Yeah. Or in some cases, impossible. Right.

I think a lot of the great, like onboarding funnels, right? Guys like Airbnb, I feel like they. Such an amazing, understanding of, hey, within the first 24 hours, if we can't get you to do X, Y, and Z, like our chances of getting you to do, you know, other high value, conversion activities is gone.[00:22:00]

And so it's like when you know what that good looks like, like in Spotify, say, if you know, in, within seven days, you have to make this. Then it's very easy to optimize your whole strategy, and that could be product strategy, marketing strategy through it. but you're right. I would venture to say, you know, when you're talking about timeframes of, and I think for certain businesses this could be, if they sign up, you have to be able to get them to do something in 24 hours, right?

That almost becomes impossible, or is impossible if you don't have sort of infrastructure to do.

[00:22:33] Karan: And, and also I say the, the thing is that, that's interesting. Yeah. at the center of customer experience because customers keep changing, Right? Like, like, I think it goes back to one of the first things that we were discussing, that customers are not linear, They don't behave in a linear rate.

So even if, let's say, you're able to apply this, let's say, data point that it derived from an analysis, chances are that is not applicable to all [00:23:00] a. and, and this is where if you have data in a format which is, which you can activate, you can very easily test it for different audiences, learn from those tests, and then basically, you know, keep optimizing around it.

Mm-hmm. But the only way to do that at scale, Is when you have data in that format. Otherwise, you're just, let's say, doing the, these analysis, which organizations do, let's say once a quarter, once, you know, once a year depending on resources. And then by the time you have that analysis ready, it's too late to, you know, to, to deploy those findings.

So, it's, it's. , I think at the heart and center of, building those customer experiences and journeys is also the ability to test and, you know, irate rapidly. which, which, again, without the right infrastructure and mindset, I feel, is, is things, is something which organizations I feel struggle a lot with.

[00:23:54] Abhi: I love where our conversation's gone because I think the one, and I'm glad we introduced this concept of, it's [00:24:00] like everything we do or the way you really think about the core of what you do in CRM is you have to start with that customer first mentality.

And the way you do that is through sort. Being able to collect, organize, and activate customer data in this way that, is really required to drive these one-to-one personalizations. But I think the benefit of what you're saying too, is, and tell me if I'm wrong, but what you're almost talking about, Isn't just like a marketing thing, right?

I mean the, the being able to centralize and organize your data in this way. There's applications for marketing, but I think the benefit to organizations or anyone listening to this is if you structure your, your data around this sort of customer first mentality or with this customer first intent, that goes into everything including informing like your product development experience, how you maybe gtm a product in a new [00:25:00] market.

Um, I think there's so many other applications of like this sort of. Highly available, real time access to customer data that I think extends beyond marketing. But you let me know. Do, do you sort of see that too and Yeah. I

[00:25:17] Karan: mean, it, it, it is, I think also, a combination of how organizations, let's say structure, because of course you, you would imagine it's, it's a given.

That, , you know, , customers are the center of , what organizations do because if there is no customer, there is no organization. Right? I mean, I'm sure organizations start this way. Yeah. Yeah. But then along the lines of, you know, let's say growth, hyper growth, you know, going i p o having investors, there becomes a thin line, which, differentiates this customer.

To their top line and bottom line. and, and this is where I think it just becomes hard, [00:26:00] right? Like , it's, it's of course, I mean, I get it that, you know, you have to balance your, commercial growth. But to me that should not be a mutually exclusive topic to customers. but I feel organizations do, , you know, struggle with, with that mindset, I think coming back to your point, so it's less because organizations as you'll see as well, like there is no customer department, right?

That's course. Yeah. I mean, every department has some, let's say, connection with , you know, customers at the end of the day, whether, if it's even finance, right? Uh so. It all comes back to how organizations can, you know, be this cross-functional where, you know, whether it's crm, whether it's marketing, whether it's growth, whether it's product, and sometimes these terms are used interchangeably.

Uh, but how can all of these functions coexist, and eventually unlock this customer experience and do [00:27:00] that at, at while balancing this, let's say commercial. To keeping customers at the, at the center of, this as well. And I think that to me is what differentiates, you know, a good to a great company which can scale.

Uh, and, I think you look at, you know, some of those loved products, brands in the market, whether it's Apple, whether it's , I think they at least try to keep customers at the heart of what they do, and they're still, you know, growing. So, yeah, to me it, it's not impossible to find that sweet spot.

[00:27:32] Abhi: I think at the end of the day, your growth and your ability to scale and continue to deliver the, let's just say the traditional board numbers right, in the long run are directly attributed to your ability to, I think, effectively understand.

React to what your customers are telling you. So, I mean, no disagreements for me and, you know, that doesn't mean that this is necessarily easy or there's a one size fits all approach to [00:28:00] every organization or business, but I think we can all agree that that is.

Without that. Right. As, as you said, it's, it's taking a boat out into the ocean with, Yeah. Some concerning, some holes, huh? You're, you're gonna get some water at your feet pretty quickly. so kind. I, I, I can't, I'd be remiss if I, if I, you know, you're on a podcast titled Connected and, you know, we talked a lot about connecting with customers and the different technologies that have to connect with each other.

But, I wanna talk about the people and, I'd love to get your lived experience in this, could you speak or share, sort of your experience working across different orgs so, you know, across like data and engineering and product teams? To sort of like enable this kind of data strategy that makes it sort of valuable to you. And Yeah. Any tips and and advice for any of the marketers out there?

They're like, Oh, like I want to do this, but, you know, I, I just, it, it's, [00:29:00] you know, I, I don't have access to this kind of stuff. Like, how, how does one even, even start.

Oh, wow. All right. That's a lot. But you know, maybe the piece is, Yeah. How do you collaborate with other, other teams to make this happen? Yeah. I, I, I think in,

[00:29:14] Karan: in, in one word, it, it's, it's a challenge.

Uh, yeah. And, I think, I think, maybe it, it's, it gives confidence to other, people who might listen to this call as well, that it's a challenge, which everyone. So it, it's not, let's say, specific to, let's say, one organization, because I've seen that in, in a wide range of, different environments, different business models.

It's, it's, it's a challenge. It's hard because, When it comes to also data strategy, right? Like, or customer strategy. Turns out that every department has its own sets of challenges, right? Like, which let's say if I look at it from just pure CRM perspective, and I talk to someone in product, they would have their own challenges, right?

They might have, let's say, They don't have a backend engineer. They don't have, you know, [00:30:00] some, resources. Their, sprints, are busy. you know, they have backlogs of, I don't know, two millionaires. So, when we have these conversations, right, especially cross-functionally, I think one, it's super important to build, a relationship where you are able to, you know, have one, a transparent, communication on what exactly are you expecting, because.

Uh, be operated in an ecosystem around, let's say when it comes to, CRM specifically, that you would always interconnected with all these different teams, right? Like whether it's product, whether it's data, whether it's brand, and so on, and without them having a buy-in. It's very difficult to scale, Like it's just almost impossible to scale.

Uh, so you need to invest in the right relationships and while investing in the right relationships, I think it's also critical you have the right infrastructure, which can basically also make you not a hundred percent dependent [00:31:00] on, these, teams mm-hmm. , and also in, in a way, by instrumenting some of these, let's say technologies.

And, and particle to me is one example, that one of the reasons we, we, you know, partnered with particle was, to make sure that, you know, one our, you know, whether it's our engineering teams, whether it's our data science teams, they can focus more on, let's say more complex parts of the function of the business.

But it doesn't necessarily, you know, also, impede us when it comes to, let's say, marketing and crm, that we are always reliant on these, teams for even, you know, simplest of functions. And I think that is to me, you know how this. Marketing tech world is evolving where you see a lot of these different, you know, players emerging and lot of them offer a lot of complex, functionality.

Uh, but it's, it's always finding, again, you know, this, sweet spot between building those relationships with different departments, [00:32:00] instrumenting the right infrastructure, and then getting the right people who can of course work with these technologies.

It's not easy. It's, it's not, a plug and play, thing that you can deploy and, it will basically solve all your problems far from it., and I think that is, is also, you know, a space which I find very interesting personally, that how do we, make this marketing. Ecosystem, which is so powerful in terms of capabilities, but make it easier for the end user so that, we are able to basically work in an ecosystem where, we can leverage these, you know, let's say, infrastructure, whether it, whether it is a CRM tool, whether it's a, a cndb, whether it's a product analytics, because eventually all of them.

Solving the same problem, right? Like, which is how do you get to the stage where you're having a relevant one-on-one conversation with your customer? Yep, yep. Yeah, I

[00:32:56] Abhi: mean this is, I think those two things are, [00:33:00] are very key. And I mean, even in my sort of customer success experience right? Over the years, the number one thing that I often see, right, with a lot of my clients is,

It's that organizational buy-in, right? So it's like our decisions being made in silos or, you know, you know, is there really like, sort of this collaborative effort where everyone understands the role they're playing and making this thing happen? And is everyone sort of working at the same goal because to your, I mean, these are all tools at the end of the day, right?

I mean, at the end, the, there's no, SAS product application out there that's going to just, you know, instant. Solve all your problems. And I think at the end of the day, it's who are the people behind these, these programs? What are the right tools to do these jobs and are enough of the, the, the people around in the room together talking about the same things.

And to me it's like the number one make or break, right? It's like, can the [00:34:00] teams that touch customer data or they all, you know, and they may have very different applications, right? But philosophically are they all aligned? What we're going towards. And to your point, I agree like some, I think some of the most successful people navigating this world, you know, whether it's someone like you that's sort of more on the marketing side or it's more of a engineering led initiative or a product led initiative, they have great relationships, right?

Or there's always a line of communication or there's like constant sort of collaboration. I think that's where a little bit of, I think having empathy also helps, like you mentioned that, right? Like it's. Hey, I'm in product and you know, everyone should just do everything I say cuz I'm the product person or I, I, you know, I'm in CRM and I'm the one delivering, you know, revenue for the business.

And, the final piece that you hit there that I think is really key too, is how can you remove bottlenecks, right? And I think that's a, a key part of sort of when you're building like an architecture, like a customer [00:35:00] data infrastructure, to your point.

It's no, it's no good if you're trying to send like hyper personalized real time messages if you have to submit like a Jira ticket to somebody to, to get you a sequel query of like 4,000 emails. Right. So it's like, yeah. How do you enable sort of the team that needs that data to get that data at will versus Right.

Having to go to somebody that you know, may in the moment be working on entirely different problem.

[00:35:27] Karan: Yep. I, I think this is where, I feel like, you know, it comes back to what I was talking about Ben. when you look at this marketing tech landscape. Yeah. One, Of course, you know, those tools are important, right?

Like, you, you, I, I feel that's, that's a step already in the right direction where, we are unlocking this infrastructure because back in the day, you know, people would talk about esp, for example. and now, you know, it's, it's the era of omnichannel orchestration. so it's, it's create that, you know, marketers are getting access [00:36:00] to these technologies because at least, what it does, it, it gives them, you know, access to.

Which can enable them to, at least think about how can they have these one on one conversations with, their customers. Now, once that is in place, which I feel you know, is, is, is an evolving landscape, To me. Now, the problem is that, or not the problem, but the opportunity is that how do you make, the, the end user who is sitting behind having access to these CDBs, to these CRMs, to, you know, all these complex, template builders and so on.

How do you make it easier for this person to actually reach, this stage of doing this one on one, personalization. And that part is hard right now. Like I, I see my teams, you know, struggling with a lot of operational, complexity behind, doing this. and, I think, once we are able to unlock this, this part as well, it will just become more and more.

One easier for the marketer [00:37:00] to be able to, test irate and deploy these relevant experiences. And of course, you know, the person who benefits is the customer because we'll be able to unlock this relevant, communication to them. And you'll have this, you know, hopefully a positive, direct impact on your, commercial targets as well.

Uh, and, and, it's not of course, you know, an easy path, to that, direction, but, I feel like, you know, I, I see at least there is intent behind, tools and brands to move in that direction, for sure.

[00:37:31] Abhi: Kern, we're, we're, we're, you know, getting to the end of this conversation, you've given us some amazing perspective, insights, food for thought. honestly, like I've learned a lot but, I can't let you go without some fun questions. So, you know, taking the data, c d p, CRM hats off. I'd love to ask you, as a consumer, what is your favorite brand or experience? [00:38:00]

[00:38:02] Karan: I have to say, it goes with my nomadic lifestyle. I love Airbnb.

Uh, it's, it's just, I think , I don't know. There is something one of course about, you know, the whole experience , because the way. Everything works right from let's say, you know, you, searching for a place to stay to, you know, when you're staying there to, customer support to, the whole let's say, outcome.

It's just, you know, it's designed, keeping that customer at the heart of it. And that's what I love about Airbnb. of course I think I'm a bit biased because I just use it, Too much, when I'm traveling. but, yeah, it's definitely by far one of my favorite

[00:38:44] Abhi: brands. No, no com arguments or disagreements for me.

And, and shout out to Airbnb. That's absolutely. Absolutely spot on. okay, so we're gonna play a little game. It's, it's five rapid fire questions. So a lot of these are, [00:39:00] well, I'll say the first four are yes or no. and the fifth one's a very selfish question for, for myself, but let's, let's jump into it.

Um, Pineapple on pizza. Heck no. Okay. . Right. You're, you'd be shocked. I mean, we are, we are, we're quite a few episodes into this podcast, and it is very 50 50, so, Oh, wow. Yeah. I mean, yeah. I,

[00:39:22] Karan: I, I, I made peace with this fact that there are people in this world who love pineapple and pizza. Yeah.

[00:39:28] Abhi: But we'll see.

Maybe I may have to keep increasing the sample size, but I'm a hundred percent with you. No, no. For pineapple and pizzas. That's good. winter or summer sports,

[00:39:38] Karan: tough. But winter sports. Okay.

[00:39:41] Abhi: All right. and I had to ask because, I know we're both, you know, pretty big Cricket fans.

Um, more entertaining cricketer, Verander Saag or Chris Gayle. Ooh.

[00:39:57] Karan: I mean, now this is definitely, I'm, I'm, I'm a bit [00:40:00] biased. I would say, I mean, I mean,

[00:40:03] Abhi: yeah, I gotta go be, but it's, it's

[00:40:06] Karan: a bias. I, I think like they're pretty entertaining. I think, Chris Gay is entertaining more in a different way, but when it comes to just the sport itself, definitely the, Yep, yep, yep.

[00:40:19] Abhi: a hundred percent. And that was a little bias. Biased view was my favorite player of, Indian player of all time. So, yeah, no complaints in my book. frozen yogurt or ice cream.

[00:40:31] Karan: Ice cream. it, it used to be, frozen yogurt, but I think Berlin, like, there are two things, which when you come to Berlin, you, you either have a lot of ice cream all the time, or you drink beer all the time.

So, I, I think now it's just, that's why I do, all these hit classes every day to manage my, preference or rather manage my, too much, eating of ice cream.

[00:40:56] Abhi: Fair enough, Fair enough. and final [00:41:00] question. I'm like, you know, you say there's two types of people in the world, the, the people that, live to eat or eat to live, and, I'm definitely the former, so I have to ask you as a foodie, I want your favorite restaurant in Berlin.


[00:41:18] Karan: Berlin. I don't think it has. I think I'm, I'm also like spoiled because I lived in all these like, exciting food cities like Singapore and Hong Kong, which are incredible for food and to me, Berlin disappoints. 

[00:41:32] Abhi: but, so let's expand it. Let's make this global just favorite. You know, when I, when I ask that que what comes top of mind, favorite restaurant in all of your travel,

[00:41:41] Karan: So I, I would say, I would, maybe just because I'm too bad with names, so I can't remember the name of a restaurant, but, I always have this, let's say, meal that whenever I'm traveling or like, for me, that's the definition of comfort food.

So I would always, you know, try to find fo or ramin, [00:42:00] in, in any place that I go to. I mean, for, for what it's worth, Berlin does, do, decent fo because you have a lot of good Vietnamese food. So, you can't go wrong with it, but is it like the best four I've had? not really. but, it, it's, it's, it's decent.

[00:42:21] Abhi: Yeah. Okay. No, knock on Berlin. You know, maybe we, we gotta get out to, Vietnam maybe, but, kan, you gotta get out here to New York, man. I'll tell you, there are some, I, again, I, I don't know if we hold a candle to, to Japan, but there's some pretty. Great ramen places, and it's tough to be

[00:42:37] Karan: Japan, I have to tell you.

[00:42:38] Abhi: Yeah, I could imagine. So, fair enough, fair enough. you know, then at some point, maybe outside of Berlin, huh, maybe, maybe we'll have to meet up in a different, different town or, or city somewhere. But we, we, we have to share a meal together and maybe that's, Far Ramen. Yeah, let's. Awesome. So, ah, Kerin, [00:43:00] it's been an absolute pleasure.

I think this was an amazing conversation. , thank you so much for just sharing your insights and spending the, the time with me and, yeah, just, you know, really, really appreciate you, you jumping on the pod.

[00:43:13] Karan: Likewise. A the pleasure was all mine. And thanks once again for having me.

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